Slow truck sales in February have foreshadowed an average year ahead in the market according to the Truck Industry Council (TIC).
When compared with the year previous, total truck sales for last month fell 378 units, a decrease of 13.4 per cent to signal what is likely to amount to an underwhelming year ahead for orders.
Medium Duty sales, however, were the healthiest of all segment, though in accordance with current trends, lost ground on 2019 sales, falling 12.4 per cent to 913 units.
Year-to-date the medium duty market was only down 74 trucks at the end of February.
The Heavy Duty segment took the biggest hit continuing a worrying trend observed in the latter half of 2019 and January 2020.
Year-to-date heavy duty sales are down by 21.1 percent (-365 trucks) on 2019 with only 777 units sold for the month of February, representing a major decline of 19.2 percent (-185 trucks).
The light duty category didn't fare much better having a reported 746 truck sales, a decrease of 14.7 per cent for the month.
Again, the Light Duty Vans showed promising signs with a total of 447 units sold, up 0.7 per cent compared to February 2019.
In contrast, year-to-date is not so positive after a devastating month for the segment in January, with 74 fewer van sales than the same month last year.
Truck Industry Council CEO Tony McMullan said the February result is in-line with industry’s expectations, unfortunately.
"Truck sales are very much mirroring the current Australian economic climate, being average at best. Of looming concern is the impact that Covid-19 is likely to have on Australian freight transport and supply chains," he said.
"For example, container movements have slowed noticeably according to the Container Transport Alliance Australia. This will have many and far reaching consequences for road freight companies in Australia," said McMullan.
"With a further slowing of our economy, these freight organisations may delay existing fleet replacement plans, further reducing the take-up of new trucks."
According to McMullan this would lead to an increased ageing of the nation’s already old truck fleet, with flow on negative effects for road safety, public health and road freight productivity.
"TIC calls upon the Federal Government to acknowledge these potential issues and make appropriate financial incentives available to the road transport sector to stimulate growth.” he said.